Transportation: Risks – IT Failures and Security Breaches

Transportation Risks

Mitropoulos, International Maritime Organization (2009), said that ‘incidents of piracy and attacks on merchant ships had been prevailing in the past years especially off coastal areas and horn of Africa, among other hotspots, thus a global problem’. Various events cause interruptions in the normal flow of goods and materials through the supply chain hence delivery delays which threaten a company’s image and financial outlook (Coyle & Novak et al., 2011). Delivery delays due to congestion, poor weather, equipment malfunction, this can be reduced by using event management software, employing dynamic re-routing tools and performing preventative maintenance which will in turn lead to greater delivery reliability and improved customer. Inadequate storage capacity do interrupt the supply chain which can be addressed by establishing alternative ports to store goods. Product damage is another disruption which may be as a result of operator accident and poor freight handling methods; theses damages can be reduced by use of protective packaging and to monitor carrier performance so as to ensure good condition.

Failures in the IT System

Leverage pieces of technology are used in monitoring in-transit freight which helps managers avoid potential problems and respond rapidly to disruptions. The Transportation Technology box highlights the importance of these capabilities to transportation companies like Cool Carriers that handle temperature- and humidity sensitive freight. Visibility tools provide a seamless flow of timely information across the supply chain. Accurate knowledge of in-transit freight allows managers to be proactive in routing and scheduling to meet delivery windows. Management tools in the IT system detect performance problems and alert the affected organization.

The Sense & Track mobile terminal, an information technology system, shows loaded/empty status and provide data from other monitored systems such as load temperature and tire inflation when it is combined with sensors, becoming an integral part of the trailer. So by adding cargo and door sensors, immediate alert notification can be sent when trailer doors are opened or closed along with empty/full load status information enhancing security for both the load and trailer, including reduction of theft. Failures in the  IT system makes monitoring of the logistics and taking corrective action to be very difficult which results in disruptions  and the supply chain is adversely affected.

Security Breaches

Transportation companies are now heavily involved in the development of policies and procedures to better control freight and limit supply chain exposure to problems since if they do fail to protect in-transit freight then, the transportation company and its customers are left very   vulnerable to acts that threaten security such as terrorist attacks, organized crime activity, which are cause security breaches. There is no shortage of security challenges facing organizations, especially with criminals scheming to exploit system flaws and security vulnerabilities. Various approaches to these exposure are:-

Lax security processes whereby supply chain security and resiliency are not optional and must be built into global transportation operations. Companies must think about their potential security vulnerabilities and develop appropriate defenses. A failure to establish strong security practices will make the company a prime target for intentional transportation disruptions.

Unprotected transfer facilities, since many transportation companies fail to do the simple things like lock doors, fence in facilities, and require security badges to limit access to freight and transportation equipment. Ease of facility entry and access will only promote product theft, deliberate contamination, or catastrophic disruptions -such as hiding a bomb in a freight container.

Shipment control failures—freight visibility and access control are the keys to protecting in-transit goods from harm. When freight is “off the radar screen,” security risks and disruption opportunities increase. Improperly controlled freight containers can provide hiding spots for stowaways attempting to illegally enter a country. Often, the stowaways contaminate the container’s contents and cause legal headaches for authorities. Although we have identified six categories of risk and discussed 18 specific risks, the list is not by any means comprehensive. The perils of transportation are many and varied. Hazardous materials dangers, the corrosive nature of saltwater, border crossing issues, military conflicts, and a host of other issues constantly threaten to disrupt transportation operations. Managers must remain vigilant to possible threats and constantly analyze transportation.

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